NecronomiCon Returned to Providence this Past Weekend

by Jason Harris

2013-08-24 06.55.52It has been a number of years since the city of Providence has celebrated the life and work of H.P. Lovecraft with the convention, NecronomiCon. It was expected to have about 1200 people attend, convention director Niels Hobbs said. The convention ran from Thursday, August 22, through Sunday, August 25 and took place at the Providence Biltmore.2013-08-23 20.21.27

Putting on a convention is a huge undertaking and the organizers did a great job. The only noticeable problem was the program wasn’t available at the start of the convention. They arrived a few hours later. The printer should have had them delivered at the beginning of the month, a volunteer at the registration table said.

The registration table.

The registration table.

The convention was spread throughout Providence at eight different locations, Hobbs said. There were art shows, gaming, and movies being shown. There were events of all types for Lovecraft fans. There were also panels and readings throughout the weekend.

The Cinematic Lovecraft panel

The Cinematic Lovecraft panel

Author Alan Dean Foster

Author Alan Dean Foster

There were also a lot of vendors on the registration floor and on the 18th floor of the Biltmore. Vendors included publishers, writer organizations, and artists.

Sam Merritt and Mark Marine of Double Vision Embroidery.

Sam Merritt and Mark Marine of Double Vision Embroidery.

You can check out the Double Vision Embroidery Facebook page here.

Sculptor Larry Elig

Sculptor Larry Elig

You can check out Elig’s work here.

H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft

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A part of the New England Horror Writers' table.

A part of the New England Horror Writers’ table.

You can check out the New England Horror Writers (NEHW) here.

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society's table.

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society’s table.

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The TempleCon table.

Cinema Knife FIght writer Barry Dejesu holding a Crocheted Cthulhus from the NEHW table.

Cinema Knife FIght writer Barry Dejasu holding a Crocheted Cthulhus from the NEHW table.

Authors David Cassenti and Laura Hickman behind the NEHW table.

Authors David Cassenti and Laura Hickman behind the NEHW table.

The Tandy Leather Factory table.

The Tandy Leather Factory table.

The Tandy Leather Factory is located in East Hartford, Connecticut. Check them out here.2013-08-23 23.45.06

The Hippocampus Press table.

The Hippocampus Press table.

The offerings at the NEHW table.

The offerings at the NEHW table.

The Fedogan & Bremer Publishing table

The Fedogan & Bremer Publishing table

The Catalyse Studios table

The Catalyse Studios table

A.S. Koi is a writer, painter, writer, and owner of Catalyse Studios. Her first book, Tribes of Heaven: Honor & Sacrifice, took Koi 15 years to complete it, she said. She has three planned in the series, but it will probably be four since that’s what is needed for the proper conclusion of the story. The second book in the series will be released in January of 2014.

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Joe Broers Miskatonic Valley Ravenswood Studios.

Joe Broers Miskatonic Valley Ravenswood Studios.

Joe Broers' products.

Joe Broers’ products.

You can check out Broers other sculptures here.

The Cryptocurium table.

The Cryptocurium table.

You can check out the Cryptocurium merchandise here.

NEHW members Barry Dejasu and Scott Goudsward (both standing) and Laura Hickman and Jan Kozlowski (both sitting) at the NEHW table.

NEHW members Barry Dejasu and Scott Goudsward (both standing) and Laura Hickman and Jan Kozlowski (both sitting) at the NEHW table.

If you missed this year’s convention, there will be one in 2015. Stay tuned to it’s website for information.

Ghosts of the Past

Ghosts of the Past

The Lizzie Borden House Investigation

By Dave Cassenti

It’s a rhyme that many kids my age know from their childhood, especially if they jumped rope.

Lizzie Borden took an axe

And gave her mother 40 whacks

And when she saw what she had done

She gave her father 41.

The double murder of Lizzie Borden’s stepmother and father in 1892 was a huge story at the time, and if any house could be haunted, than SURELY it is the Borden house where the murder occurred 121 years ago, and there are a number of reports that the house IS haunted by Abby and Andrew Borden as well as numerous other ghosts, including children that were supposedly drowned in a well in the yard prior to the Borden family living in the home. This home was also one of the many paranormal locations that I was privileged to investigate with my students in December 2007, and the only one we were able to stay overnight in.

I had been teaching a class called Scientific Paranormal Research for about three years, and the TV show Ghost Hunters was popular on TV. The Lizzie Borden House had become a bed & breakfast a number of years previously, and I was interested in investigating it … Well, to be honest, I just wanted to STAY there, but my wife is squeamish, and so I had no chance. However, I had been looking for local places to investigate, and being in Fall River, MA, the house was an easy drive from our East Haddam school, and my class budget could handle a couple of rooms for one night. So, we booked the rooms in the most haunted locations available, gathered our equipment, and got underway.

After arriving at the house, we unpacked our gear, and the students were escorted to their rooms to unpack. I met with the owner and asked some of our standard questions about the house and any experiences that people have had. When the students returned to the parlor, we were taken on a tour of the home and the “hot spots” for activity. At this point, the kids were getting excited about the prospect of getting something on video or audio. The previous year, we had been to a number of supposedly haunted locations, a mansion in North Adams, MA., and a number of Civil War sites in PA, MD, WV, VA and DC, with NOTHING to show for it. At least, nothing that couldn’t be explained. But here we were in a place where a gruesome double ax murder had taken place and it was supposedly VERY haunted. We were SURE to get something!

That night, we had a séance in the parlor led by a psychic. This psychic started the séance with the statement, “We might not get anything since spirits don’t like to get ‘caught,’ so don’t be disappointed if nothing happens.” Immediately, it was apparent to me, as well as a few students, that she wasn’t a good psychic and was hedging her bets. This assessment was later verified when she couldn’t ‘sense’ the child spirits around my feet for a good 20-25 minutes after my feet got so cold they became numb. She only ‘saw’ them after I put my hand down near my feet to feel what could explain the cold temperatures (it turned out to be moving air coming from the vent in the floor). Later, during an EVP session my kids & I were running in the basement (another hot spot), the psychic ‘sensed a spirit moving around’ when she heard something in the basement. I had also heard it and, in tracing the source of the sound to the furnace, heard the furnace fire up after pulling oil into it so it could start. Needless to say, the ‘ghost’ was a 15-year-old oil furnace.

That night, the students used a Ouija board and ‘spoke’ to the spirits. However, once again, simpler explanations were often found for what occurred, and the postulate of Occam’s Razor (when multiple hypotheses exist, it is usually the simplest one that is most correct) held that the events were not paranormal. After that, everyone retired to their own rooms. So far, cameras and audio recorders had been going in all rooms, and these continued throughout the night.

In the morning, we had Johnny Cakes for breakfast, the same meal that the Borden family had on their last morning, and then packed up and went home. The next day, we began reviewing the hours of video and audio to find…

NOTHING

About the author:

Along with being a math and science teacher who has always had an interest in world religions, psychology, parapsychology, the supernatural and the paranormal. David Cassenti has taught high school classes about ghost hunting, vampires, demonology, and all sorts of strange and weird topics. David lives in Moodus, CT with his wife, Lisa, his kids, Sarah and Matthew, his dog, Leo, his cat, Ace, and all sorts of scaly creatures! He is also the author of For the Blood of the Lamb, which can be purchased in paperback or as an e-book on Amazon or you can buy a signed copy from Books & Boos in Colchester, CT.